by Sr. Margaret Anne Meyer MMM U.S.A. 13.05.2022
As I read the beautiful blog by Sr. Noleen Mooney with title “I lift up my eyes to the Mountains”, my thoughts ran back to the mid 1960’s when I was an intern in the IMTH, now known as the Lourdes Hospital. At that time, the hospital was not completed, and one could see the distant hills by looking out the windows along the staircase to the six floors. As a young, newly qualified Doctor, I felt overwhelmed by all the numbers of patients and duties to accomplish in a short space of time. I used to look out of the windows then and pray Psalm 121, trusting in God’s help to be as strong and as present as those hills.
Still to today, that Psalm has meaning and comfort to me. Last night we had a Fiat Vocation meeting by zoom of Sisters and young women from the various universities in the Boston area. One Sister spoke about her volunteer work at the Mexican-USA Border where she was part of a team welcoming migrant refugees aver the border. They averaged 600-700 a day before Covid 19 surfaced. Ninety nine percent had contacts in the USA and all they needed was a warm welcome, a shower, a change of clothes some food and a bus ticket to their destination. Their stories of poverty, being forced to join gangs, climate change affecting their crops as well as hurricane destruction were difficult to hear but now, they were going to have a better life. Laws were introduced to protect from Covid, and this steady stream of refuges migrants is on hold. Some have camped just inside the Mexican border with the hope of entering someday soon.
I was asked to speak about the work of the Boston Sisters Coalition against human trafficking. Since 2007, a group of sisters have gone to schools, churches and a Rotary Club trying to tell people what human trafficking is and that it is here in USA neighborhoods and not only in foreign countries. We held symposia on different topics concerning human trafficking and how to look for it. Some police officers came and told us of the dangers of online child sexual abuse. This is occurring in younger children all the time. An undercover agent posed as an 11-year-old, and she was solicited within 2 minutes. Bills are in Congress to protect the children from this happening but there is much opposition to their passage.
One of our works which is going very well is making Bags of Love. These new bags contain new clothes such as pajamas, tops, slacks or sweatpants, toiletries, underwear, snacks, a gift card and note of encouragement. Since last year 160 bags were distributed to young women and girls who were rescued from this life. Many cried with joy in receiving them because they never received any gift before.
This session of the Fiat meeting was trying to tell the young women what Sisters do. Some go to the margins and try to help people who are poor, and have experienced violence, devastation, sickness, and extreme loss. We try and follow Jesus who went around doing good. We hear the cry of the poor and smell the sheep as Pope Francis encourages and we look up to the hills from where comes our hope, strength, and trust. ( Psalm 121)